By Bobby Cappuccino (@bobbycappucino)
Last year, the league performed a great misdirect by giving the Oilers Connor McDavid. If rigging the lottery was a conspiracy theory, giving the Oilers another 1st overall pick – and the best 1st overall pick in a decade – was a perfect way to throw people off the trail.
But it was rigged. As was this year’s lottery that gave the Leafs the chance to draft Auston Matthews. But neither were rigged for the reason you’d expect.
A lot of people claimed that even though the Leafs had the best odds at 1st overall (20%), that the league gifted them Matthews to help speed up the rebuild. Why does the league care about the state of the Leafs? Well, Canadian viewership numbers dropped off considerably this season, directly linking to the “not even trying to win” mentality of the Leafs. Rogers needs the Leafs to win. And so does the league.
It’s a solid theory, and I give props to those who thought it out. But it’s incorrect. The real reason is much bigger.
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there is a Presidential Election coming up in the United States. And the Republican Nominee is Donald Trump, who has a solid shot at winning the Presidency, despite being a racist lunatic. One of his policies involves deporting Mexicans, in addition to building a giant wall in between the USA and Mexico.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Auston Matthews is Mexican. He represents something very important for kids in the southern United States who dream of becoming hockey players. That’s vital for the long-term growth of the league. How could the league possibly risk having their big new star getting deported by Donald Trump? Auston Matthews had to go to Canada. It’s the only way to ensure that he wouldn’t get deported.
Your next question probably is – all Canadian teams were in the lottery, why’d he have to go to Toronto?
Sure, they could have put Matthews in any other Canadian city, but Toronto is the only city with enough Important People to fight against Trump should he win and become President of the United States. Quite simply, Toronto has enough money and power to fight any possible attack Trump can muster. If he has proposed ludicrous ideas against Mexico, who’s to say he doesn’t try the same with Canada?
Additionally, it makes sense for the league to have Matthews on the biggest stage in hockey. It would be counterintuitive to have a player who represents so much to the future of the sport play in Kanata or Winnipeg. It had to be Toronto.
Keeping a Mexican-American hockey star away from a racist lunatic and having him play in the biggest market in the league – it’s worth rigging the lottery for.